Netherlands Forensic Institute

Design for a concealed garden

The Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) has relocated to new premises in The Hague-Ypenburg. The Government Buildings Agency approached Parklaan to design the outdoor space. The resulting plan has already been implemented, and was also nominated for the Dutch Design Award.

The Netherlands Forensic Institute reveals items which are ostensibly invisible to outsiders. Evidence collected at crime scenes is examined here and rendered visible using various methods. The park surrounding the NFI building lies concealed behind the landscaping, gradually revealing itself to visitors to the institute
One can also discover the history of the site in the park behind the landscaping. The runway is a reference to the site’s previous use as an airfield. The parterre, central axis, concealed garden and embankments were inspired by a combination of the building’s baroque structure and the estate previously situated here.

The site’s paving and the planting also conceal significant hints, which the staff and more discerning visitors may also discover. One such example is the flower meadow and border. The parterre comprises topiary hedges, spring bulbs and perennial plants. A fingerprint was incorporated in the border and the lawn, in cooperation with the artist Jeroen van Westen, as an archetypal symbol of the work carried out by the NFI. The fingerprint was interpreted in the lawn in the form of two types of soil in which various herbal plants were sown. The representation of the fingerprint in the parterre consists of a pattern created using hedges and perennial plants. Various types of bulbs planted between the hedges also flower copiously in springtime.